Rapid COVID-19 screening test developed in Israel to be used in major European airports

Israeli travelers enjoy a celebratory arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, March 23, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

By Marcy Oster, JTA

A rapid COVID-19 screening test developed in Israel will be used to screen passengers in several European airports. 

The test involves gargling with a small amount of special mouthwash and spitting it into a test tube.

Virusight Diagnostic, a newly formed Artificial Intelligence health care venture between Sheba Medical Center’s ARC Innovation Center and Newsight Imaging, has signed a strategic letter of intent for rapid screening of airline passengers with ICTS Europe, a security provider at major airports in 23 countries, Newsight announced in a statement on its website.

A trial of the test last month involving some 400 people at Sheba showed about 95% accuracy.

“Tests will be immediate, affordable and monitored, so that airports and airlines can optimize the level of safety by mitigating the risk of COVID-19 infection,” the statement said.

In the pilot phase at the airports, those who test positive for the coronavirus will have to take the regular swab test, The Times of Israel reported.

The gargle test uses SpectraLIT, Newsight Imaging’s portable and accurate spectral analysis device, to determine the presence of the COVID-19 virus.